This is the first year that I asked the kids to make me a list of what they wanted for Christmas. When I was growing up my siblings and I did not make lists. My mom considered lists to be superficial and greedy. Gifts were to be thought out by the buyer not requested. When my children were little, lists were unecessary. If it was a truck with 4 wheels it went into the cart. As my boys have grown they have become much more particular about their likes and dislikes. They are very difficult to buy for. So I relied heavily on my lists as I shopped over the past few weeks.
With the exception of my oldest, I was satisfied with the choices that I made from their lists. I was anticipating their excitement on Christmas morning as they realized that some of their wishes had become a reality. Well tonight, my anticipation came to a screeching halt when I discovered that the door to the hallway closet where I had stored the unwrapped gifts had been broken into. My middle son had made a comment to me earlier in the evening that he knew where the gifts were. As I opened the closet door to begin the task of wrapping my heart sunk. The bags had been moved. The doorknob was loose and the wood was chipped around it.
My anticipation for Christmas morning is ruined. I am sad for myself, but mostly sad for my two youngest boys, ages 12 and 13. Though neither has expressed regret, I believe that they feel the loss of anticipation the same as I do and that they wish they could turn back the clock. My middle child, E, who did the deed has very poor judgement due to a brain damaged by his birth mom’s careless use of alcohol during pregnancy. Perhaps unfairly, when I am working, I rely on my other two sons to insure that E doesn’t make unsafe decisions that could harm himself or others. Clearly, today’s incident did not meet that criteria in my son’s heads, because neither felt the need to inform me that this act was occurring. What is so frustrating is that they bother me at work for the most mundane reasons. But somehow this action didn’t rise to the level for which either one felt the need to pick up the phone.
So tonight I sit here knowing that for E there will be no surprises on Christmas morning. As though he hasn’t suffered enough, my knee jerk reaction was to cancel his birthday party planned for 12/28. Tom assures me that acting out of vengeance will not serve any purpose. I am not convinced of that. He has taken something from me and I want to return the favor. Even as I write this I recognize the pettiness of my thoughts.
I am praying that in the morning I will feel less angry and less bitter. After all, along the continuum of adverse life events this one doesn’t register a reading at all. I am alive, healthy and blessed with many good fortunes. I will indeed get past this emotion and my spirit will return.
After thought: Tonight the “Home for Christmas” special was broadcast on CBS. The star studded event features foster children waiting for adoptive families. The show also highlights several families who have adopted as a result of seeing the program in previous years. Interestingly enough, they all seem really well adjusted and the panoramic view of their homes don’t show any holes in the walls or doors off of the hinges. They must have caught them on a good day.